Category - Position Advice
Position Advice – Midfield and Rucks:
This week we are going to be doing things a bit differently – due to no games being played on the weekend (and therefore no need for a weekly wrap), Kristian, Dan and myself will instead look through the four field positions and some the better buys from each price point in each one. Today I will be looking at the midfielders.
$0 – $200k:
- Reece Conca: Conca’s role at Richmond in his first season will likely be off half-back, releasing Deledio and Connors into the midfield. He has a pretty good history of knowing how to win the ball, averaging 80 Dream Team points in the National Champs and 130 points in his two WAFL Colts games last season. I see Conca more as a Super Coach player though. He tested as one of the best kicks at Draft Camp and backed that up with a stellar National Championship campaign averaging 103 Super Coach points and the best disposal efficiency out of any other midfielder at the carnival. You’ll be paying a little bit more for him as he was a top draft pick, but it should be worth it, as I see him playing as many games as he’s fit for and he should score pretty well for you as he’ll be eased into the big time with a nice little role off half-back.
- David Swallow: I’d say there would be very few AFL followers who aren’t aware of Swallow – in fact he was probably one of the best-known youngsters a year before their actual draft, and there is little doubting why he has been so highly rated. His NAB form was solid without being spectacular – he had some very good cameos in games, but never really dominated. That said, he was one of Gold Coast’s best players in the VFL last year and has a body ready for a round two debut. I think we will see similar figures from him as we did from Dustin Martin last year – solid and consistent, without ever really dominating. My guess is he will play most games though and should be able to make you a fair wad of cash.
- Rohan Bewick: Bewick is another of the Gold Coast pre-listed players and he comes to the Lions with a couple of years of senior experience in the WAFL, where he averaged 20 disposals a game last year. There are ample spots available to him in the Lions’ midfield this season and there is no questioning whether he is good enough to fill one of them. This NAB series he averaged 77 DT points, including 118 against the Suns last week – a game where he managed to win plenty of ball and get on the goal-kickers list too. Could be a really solid midfield option from round one.
- Daniel Harris: There won’t be many teams without Harris this season, despite his average pre-season where he averaged only 38 DT points over two games. Despite this, there is little doubt he won’t be a dream team star this year – he is a midfield general in a young team and can tackle like nobody’s business. There will also be few of the younger players that McKenna will want burying under packs like Harris does, so he will be needed in the squad for their inaugural season.
$200k – $350k:
- Brad Sewell: Sewell had a year to forget last year, when he spent the first half of the season in horrible form. It took him being (nearly) dropped to the VFL to wake-up and finished the year in great fashion. Now thanks to his poor start, he comes horribly underpriced for what he can provide and could prove to be a great value keeper. At his best he can easily average 100 points, and this pre-season he has already shown some good form, racking up 50 and 94 DT points in two games where he spent significant time on the bench.
- Josh Kennedy: Kennedy was one of the stars of the NAB cup before fading in the last couple of games. He is a tough, big bodied midfielder capable of winning plenty of ball, as well as kicking a few goals. He should get more chances in the midfield for the Swans this year and should subsequently see a reasonably rise in price. Not sure if he will develop enough to be a premium by the end of the year, but he should certainly make some fair cash.
- Rory Sloane: Sloane has been one of my favourites this pre-season and the only reason I didn’t write about him in last week’s article was simply because I forgot (yeah… not a great excuse). After spending most of last year on a HFF, the tackling machine looks like having a bit more of a midfield role for the Crows this season. He wins stacks of the hard stuff and knows how to use it, so is probably a better SC option. Although at his price in DT, you couldn’t go too wrong there either!
Also look at (reviews taken from my article last week):
- Nathan Foley: Foley, at this very moment, looks a total bargain. His only issue is his body, which from all reports is looking great. His pre-season has been everything that would have been wanted of him as he returns from nearly two years of injury issues. He appears not to have lost any of his speed and there is little doubt that he will be played in the midfield from round one. He has never been a prolific dream teamer (but is very good in SC though!), so don’t expect a huge average from him. But that said, if he can come back and play some decent and consistent football, you could hope for an average of around 85 from him – not bad at all for his asking price!
- Callan Ward: Ward is another player showing strong promise after an injury-ravaged 12 months. Unfortunately, at his age he has never had a huge chance to show his capabilities, although he had always looked impressive when given his chance. Without doubt, he will be in the side from round one and will likely play a role through the midfield. He has been a player threatening a breakout season for years, so hopefully 2011 can finally be his year. Although, it’s worth noting that SC is more his game than DT.
- Liam Shiels: Shiels has clearly been impressive this pre-season, racking up DT scores of 97, 98 and 95 in his three outings so far. He is playing through the midfield (mainly on the wing), and has managed to find a way to goals too – he kicked three this week against the Demons. We saw last year how talented he was, but he still had the frame of a 14-year-old girl. Fortunately, he has put on some weight and his endurance is very good too. He is another player being talked up for big things by Clarko – so if the coach says you should get on, maybe you should listen!
- Rhys Palmer: You could almost count Palmer’s first year in the AFL as his breakout year, when he won the NAB Rising Star award. Unfortunately, after starting his second year slowly, he ruptured his ACL before having to sit out the next 12 months. Last year was again a write-off as he suffered form issues when returning from his reconstruction. Fortunately, this pre-season he finally looks like continuing on from where he left off in 2008. He has been in the best players each week after being one of the best on the track through January. The word out of Freo since Christmas has been how good Palmer was looking, so it’s great to see him replicate this on the field. He will have a big responsibility this year in Freo’s young midfield (but won’t get tagged thanks to Mundy and Hill), so should be given every opportunity to bring home some big DT & SC numbers!
- Steven Salopek: I love Sal. He has always been one of my favourite players outside of the Saints – I have never really been sure why, but I think he is just great (he comes in behind Chapman and Duffield though…). His recent issue (I am talking the past couple of years) have been injuries, coupled with position – under Choco he got very little time in the midfield, and I will put this down to his lack of conditioning due to injures. His recent DT history is therefore marred by inconsistency, but I don’t think that is really what Sal is about – he is legitimately a very good player, and now coming off a good pre-season, he should be able to launch into round one and prove a bargain for his petty sub-300k price tag!
- Dane Swan: There have been few better than Swan over the past couple of years as he has asserted himself as the number one man in dream team land. At his price he is not quite a must-have, but it is certainly advisable having the great man in your squad! His pre-season was pretty quiet by his standards, averaging 99 points… And he didn’t even look like breaking a sweat! If he doesn’t finish 2011 as the top dream teamer again, he is gonna come pretty close!
- Matthew Boyd: Boyd has perennially been underrated in dream team from year to year, despite his ability to accumulate huge numbers of the ball and use it well. He displayed this again through the pre-season with several good games and should be set for another consistently good year. As the new Bulldogs’ skipper, I reckon we may even see him go up another gear in 2011!
- Leigh Montagna: ‘Joey’ was the number one disposal getter in the number two side last year and there is a pretty good chance that the Saints will be round abouts again in 2011, making Joey a very good prospect. His major strength is his ability to find space through hard work and this often results in a large number of possessions for the little man – he also has a tendancy to kick much more than he handballs, which is very nice! With the likes of Hayes and DalSanto in the squad, Joey rarely gets the main attention from taggers.
- Scott Pendlebury: If there was anyone looking ominous enough this pre-season to possibly take the DT mantle from Dane Swan, it would be Pendlebury. He has been prolific this pre-season and certainly looks in some damn fine form. The issue for many will be whether they can really squeeze two Collingwood superstars into their midfield, but with many taking Swan as their first choice, perhaps a few wise souls may be rewarded with the selection of Pendles instead. Should be a lock for SC though!
- Tom Rockliff: Many will probably be surprised to see Rocky’s name up here next to the likes of Swan, Boyd and Montagna, but there seem to be plenty of seasoned dream teamers proclaiming Rocky as ‘the next Dane Swan.’ Big call, or justified? Well, looking at his pre-season numbers alone it will be hard to ignore him – his 132 points against the Suns on the weekend was massive, taking his pre-season average to 107. Many will be turned off by his price, but if you can see through that, you could be very nicely rewarded!
- Joel Selwood: Had a great game this week against the Blues, racking up a game-high 133 points. The question is, will he fill Gazza’s shoes, or will the extra attention hurt him?